I have always loved to draw. I was quick to catch on to new techniques and developed my skill through repetition of the motions I grew used to. However, my drawing abilities reached a plateau by the time I hit high school. I continued taking courses, but I sheltered myself within the artistic boundaries I knew well. I was not experimental, I didn't want to try new mediums, and would hesitate to draw subjects that were alien to me.
Drawing at Duke really pushed me to my limits in requiring large scale works each week. Qualifications for good art were clearly outlined, allowing me to break down exactly what I needed to do for each project. Before this semester, I had never really put too much thought into drawings before doing them. It was just "go ahead, draw an animal in pencil". This granted me liberty in my pursuits but no expectation. There was nothing to live up to in drawing, so I continued to draw only what I was comfortable with (which didn't include landscapes... or still lifes!). Additionally, before this semester at Duke, the time I committed to drawing was reduced to the time I spent doodling in class.
The high expectations each 18 x 24 project inherently held ultimately drove me to produce works I could be proud of. After 6 to 8 hours of drawing, I looked back at each project with fulfillment. As opposed to my work in other classes in the sciences, where I feel as though I could always study more in preparing for a test, this work was different. Once a drawing was complete, I felt complete. I felt happy and excited that I challenged myself and followed through.
Learning to draw is like learning to speak a new language. The ultimate goal is to transmit the idea in your mind into something people can interpret, as with conversation. To do that, you must first understand and interpret the subject yourself. This class has given me much insight on how to do that because it required me to sit down, think, compose and translate imagery. The process was demanding in time and effort. But all that time and thought was worth it because I'm a better artist as a result.